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Abroad and alone, 23 years old

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I was just diagnosed with GH yesterday afternoon and I'm struggling with overwhelming emotions. I have a history of bi-polar disorder and I'm terrified of losing control over my own emotional well-being. I feel like I've let myself down; like I lived my life in arrogance believing my actions would never have consequences and this is my comeuppance. I called my mother sobbing from the hospital--I'm lucky; she's incredibly supportive and hasn't judged me at all.

I've lived abroad for over a year in a country where English is not widely spoken at all. The gynecologist I saw could barely communicate that I had herpes; he did not perform a culture so I don't know if I've got HSV1 or 2. He seemed certain with his diagnosis, however, and I have a swollen lymph node near my groin and I'm in the midst of a pretty painful (though thankfully small) outbreak so I really don't have any doubts about what this is.

Right now I'm just trying not to blame myself too much. I felt so dirty when I found out. Reading through these forums, it's good to know that you can have the virus without experiencing symptoms. I don't know if my gynecologist back in the states had blood tested me for HSV before, but I know I certainly haven't been blood tested since I moved abroad (only a PAP) and so I don't really know who I've gotten it from. Since coming abroad I've had six sexual partners, including a long-term boyfriend with whom I had unprotected sex.

While we were dating I used to get almost constant UTIs; he said he had a history of giving girls UTIs--I'm wondering if this could have been an early symptom of the virus? In any case, I've been irresponsible enough since our breakup that I could have contracted it from others--something that makes me feel so irresponsible and stupid that I can't put it into words. I'm terrified to contact him about this. He has a new girlfriend, and I'm so scared he'll judge me for partaking in casual sex since the end of our relationship and won't want anything to do with me again (I retain lingering feelings for him, but I guess that's besides the point).

I just recently (as in weeks) moved to a new city and a new job and I don't know anyone here well enough to confide in. Because of the nature of my job, I live and work at the same place, so I have virtually no privacy. I've had to lie to everyone about why I'm taking antibiotics, sneak into the shared bathroom to apply topical cream, and I don't have any safe space to cry or call friends and family from home without being overheard. Even being on this website terrifies me, should someone open my computer while I'm gone or track the activity on our communal wifi network.

I know this is a very common virus, and I'm trying to look at it as nothing more than a skin condition. I hope once this first OB clears up I'll be able to have a clearer head about this whole situation. Not knowing how or by whom I was infected is half-shameful, half-liberating: knowing I could have easily gotten this from a monogamous relationship and not necessarily a one-night stand has made me feel a bit less guilty.

I'm just hoping I can turn this into something positive and not allow myself to get bogged down in the negatives. When I felt the swollen lymph node I immediately feared a tumor (there's a history of cancer in my family) and I just keep thinking, well: would you rather it have been cancer? (Of course not.)

Any advice or support would be much appreciated; this is my only outlet to talk about this and I'm feeling very isolated at the moment. Having to hide my condition constantly doesn't help with the shame and fear.

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I totally understand. I contracted mine during college, but it was from my boyfriend. He had coldsores on his mouth ( not while we were... well you know) but i guess regardless it can still be passed. I've had the hardest time honestly. I have days where i am so optimistic and others where i want the ground to swallow me. I have not told anyone either and it seriously eats up at me. Perhaps we should find some support groups! However, you may not be able to understand what people are saying? I think it just helps knowing there are others out there in the same situation and you aren't as worthless as you feel. I don't know you...but you can get through this! Hang in there.

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Is there anyway you can return home? Sounds like you are dealing with quite a bit of stress and that probably does not help matters.

I am newly diagnosed and feel like I am on a roller coaster. I had to leave work today because there is something going on on my face. Lucky me, because my partner didn't know he had it, I contracted it down below and orally. I want my life back. I can't keep missing work because of this!

It seems like there are so many people who have this nasty little virus...you are not alone, but I know it doesn't feel that way when you are alone. I hope things improve for you.

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